Sunday, October 03, 2010

EMSL Larson Scanner Review

UPDATE October 2010. Safety by Prada!


My 14-year-old daughter put together the Larson Scanner Kit offered by the Evil Mad Science Laboratories (EMSL). We have put together quite a few soldering kits around here and this one is, simply put, the best "learn-to-solder" kit I've ever come across. There are several reasons for this. First off, the instructions are great. Not only are they clear, they leave no uncertainty as to what you need to do at each step, but they are in the form of a comic book, the perfect medium for this kit. This keeps the project light and fun.


Next, the kit is exactly the right depth. The circuit is simple enough to understood by a novice. It's just a controller, 9 LEDs, 9 current limiting resistors to prevent the LEDs from burning out, and a button. It took her about an hour to complete the kit from start to finish.

Which brings me to my next point: it's pretty freaking cool. When she turned it on for the first time, the LEDs began their smooth back and forth scanning. It is smooth because of the dimmer logic in the pre-programmed controller. It was actually a much cooler effect than I had anticipated. The mode button controls the speed of the scan as well as the brightness.

Because the project is open source, if she decides to, she can crack open the code and modify the functionality. What about a school logo POV? EMSL has provided the breakout for in circuit programming, serial communication, and two ports for customization.

The last salient feature I'd like to mention is the cost. At $13 flat, you can't go wrong.

Maybe it's me, but do I detect a hint of Evil Madness?

8 comments:

Anool said...

EMSL Redux !!

splash said...

where are her safety glasses? It'd be a shame for her to loose her eyesight.

Justin said...

Maybe I am underestimating the risk. Does anybody out there know anyone who has sustained an eye injury from a soldering accedent?

DrHenry said...

I second the safety glasses comment. As one who has seen accidents over 35 years of safety work, buy her a pair. Let her pick out a designer pair, but get her some.

jpmc said...

I wear normal glasses, which is probably fine for soldering. Aside from loosing your grip on the iron, rosin sometimes boils off and splatters. In fact just yesterday I was tacking some resistors, wire and LEDs when some hot rosin jumped off to glue itself to my thumb, would hate to be working close and have that been my unprotected eye.

buzzx said...

Pffttt! Been soldering for 45 years. Never had anything close to an eye injury. BTW it is "LOSING your grip" and "LOSE your eyesight". Thus are the complexities of the English language.

Particia said...

cool!

Sherry said...

I certainly agree with them! She is so young, might as well put a prescription protective eyewear for safety purposes. Even if there is a small percentage of risk on soldering, it is still better to have safety gears while working. We can never predict what would happen today or the next day, might as well be prepared with Titmus safety glasses rather than ending with eyesight damage.